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Clearwave Fiber vs. WOW! Internet plan comparison


Headshot of Dave Schafer
Headshot of Kathryn Casna
Researched by
Headshot of Michal Ash
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Reviewed by
Updated 6/18/24

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Clearwave Logo
Staff rating
3.8

  • Plans starting at $65.00
  • Download speeds up to 1000 Mbps
WOW! brand
Staff rating
4.0
Customer rating
3.9
(12)

  • Plans starting at $9.99
  • Download speeds up to 1200 Mbps
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Clearwave Logo
Staff rating
3.8

Strong value and performance from a smaller brand

Overall, we like Clearwave Fiber. It’s a speedy fiber provider with decent pricing and good customer service. Our main complaint is that it’s just not as competitive on the pricing as it could be. In general, though, we think people will be happy with Clearwave Fiber.

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What we like

  • Symmetrical speeds
  • Unlimited data
  • No contracts
What we dislike

  • Price hikes after 12 months
  • Relatively new, unproven company
Savings tip: Clearwave Fiber often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
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WOW! brand
Staff rating
4.0

Wow! Internet earns its name

Fast, inexpensive internet with great customer service, equipment, and installation? Wow is right. This internet company is a solid choice for most people. But if you’re a heavy streamer, its cable and fiber networks might not be beefy enough in all locations.

What we like

  • Low costs
  • Optional contracts
  • Award-winning customer service
What we dislike

  • Limited upload speed
  • Not ideal for online gaming
  • Availability in only 9 states
Savings tip: WOW! often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Clearwave Logo
Value
3.5
Solid value and transparent pricing

Clearwave Fiber fares decently overall in the value department, in large part because fiber just tends to be a good value. With faster plans, like Fiber 1 Gig, Clearwave is competitive and the performance is excellent. This package offers 11.75 Mbps per dollar spent, compared to the Fiber 500 plan at 6.67 Mbps per dollar. Although the latter is cheaper per month, you can clearly see how you get more for each dollar spent with the top-tier plan.

However, compared to competitors like AT&T, Clearwave is definitely more expensive. This difference is more pronounced with the lower-tier packages, where you get a lot more for your money with other providers.

It’s not all bad news, however. You do get unlimited data on all the plans by default—some providers, notably Xfinity, charge quite a lot for this. The equipment costs are also low, at $10 per month.

Additionally, while the price does increase after 12 months, the bump is relatively small at just $15 per month. Clearwave is very up front about this, which is a refreshing change—normally we have to dig to find out how much a plan’s price will increase after promotional periods end.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Clearwave Fiber's website
or call to speak with a rep.
See pricing
WOW! brand
Value
4.0
Great value, whether you sign a contract or not

WOW! offers 100 Mbps to 5 Gbps plans at a great price, whether or not you sign up for an optional one- or two-year contract. If you don’t mind signing a contract, WOW!’s plans will cost you about 25% of the national benchmark for a similar plan (1). After that, prices transition to month-to-month rates, which are $10 to $15 higher but still well below the benchmark.

To get WOW!’s advertised prices, you need to sign up for both autopay and paperless billing (a $5 monthly savings) and commit to a two-year contract. If you’re not sure whether you want to be chained to WOW! for that long, don’t worry too much about it. If you duck out early, you’ll pay only $15 for each month left on your contract—which isn’t much more than you’d pay if you skip the contract from the start. (2)

There are data caps of either 1.5 TB or 3 TB, depending on your plan. These are pretty high, but if you’re a heavy user, you could be charged up to $50 extra every month and have your speed throttled.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
WOW!'s website
or call 1-844-727-4910 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Clearwave Logo
Performance
5.0
Fast fiber speeds and unlimited data

Clearwave Fiber does better in the performance department. Speeds are fast—up to 1 Gbps—and all the fiber plans offer symmetrical speeds. This means the download and upload speeds are the same.

With something like cable your upload is normally about 10% of your download speed, if that. This helps a lot with live streaming, video calls, and sharing large files like videos.

As for reliability, fiber is generally pretty solid. However, Clearwave is a newer company, so it’s hard to say how well the service will hold up. Here’s what we can say: in some markets, Clearwave has taken over Hargray’s fiber services, which we have found to be somewhat unreliable in the past. Hopefully Clearwave makes improvements for customers going forward.

Available speeds vary by location. Call to speak with a Clearwave Fiber rep or
go to its website.
WOW! brand
Performance
4.0
Cable and fiber networks deliver fast, reliable download speeds

The majority of WOW!’s network is cable and fiber, though some customers in Alabama still have legacy DSL service. WOW!'s speeds top out at 5 gigs, but for most households, 250 Mbps is plenty fast. We generally don't recommend more than 1 gigs.

WOW's cable plans have upload speeds that cap out at 50 Mbps, but its fiber plans are symmetrical. That means you can upload as fast as you can download. Most people will be fine with 50 Mbps upload speeds, but if you upload a lot of photos or videos, WOW! fiber could save you some headaches.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-727-4910 to speak with a WOW! rep or
go to its website.
Clearwave Logo
Equipment and installation
3.5
No surprises here

Clearwave Fiber offers what it calls the Clearwave Fiber Router. Combined with a whole-home Wi-Fi system and a smartphone app, customers are promised wall-to-wall coverage and a slew of features to help make the experience better. These include individual profiles for people and rooms, bandwidth tests, guest networks, and parental controls. That’s a pretty solid package for $10 per month.

Installation is the typical fiber deal—you’ll need a tech to come out and install the Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is basically the modem for your fiber network. After that, you can either use Clearwave’s router or bring your own. There’s a $99 installation fee, which is pretty standard.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Clearwave Fiber plans
available in your area.
View plans
WOW! brand
Equipment and installation
3.5
Competitive Wi-Fi gear and installation

WOW! includes a free modem for your first year ($14/month after that), and fiber plans come with a free Wi-Fi router too. If you have cable service, you can rent a Whole Home Wi-Fi system, which includes a coveted eero base and one extender for $9.99. Additional extenders are $5.99 each, but most households won’t need more than one because eero’s that good. eero comes with an app you can use to manage your network, and you can add security services for an additional cost (under $10/month) if you want ad-blocking, malware protection, or parental controls.

A free self-startup kit is available to most new customers, but if you prefer professional installation, it’ll cost you $75. The good news is that with professional installation, WOW! waives its $10 activation fee, so it’s really just $65 more to have a technician’s help.

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Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
WOW! plans
available in your area.
View plans
Clearwave Logo
Customer experience
3.5
Quick and helpful service

Since Clearwave is fairly new, the customer experience is a bit of a question mark. We’ve not seen a ton of user comments about the provider, but the few we have seen have been generally positive, citing good reliability, lack of data caps, and local customer support. This includes both former Hargray customers as well as new Clearwave customers.

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Additionally, while the company’s website lacks self-help options, we chatted with customer service reps several times and were able to consistently get a response within a minute or two. The reps were direct, helpful, and friendly, and we appreciated the speed of the responses.

Visit Clearwave Fiber's website
or call for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
WOW! brand
Customer experience
4.5
Award-winning customer service, even in areas under new management

WOW! provides an award-winning customer experience, ranking fourth-highest in J.D. Power’s ISP Satisfaction list in the North Central US region in 2022. (3)

We should note that in 2021 WOW! sold a couple regions of its business (Evansville, IN and Chicago) to Astound broadband, so customers may see some changes in their service. That said, Astound ranks fifth on P.C. Mag's Readers' Choice awards, so you're probably in good hands. (4)

Visit WOW!'s website
or call 1-844-727-4910 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Clearwave Fiber
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
WOW!
3.9
(12)
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
9%
1 Star
0%
A
Annfrom Sterling Heights , MI
WOW! Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
Nothing is good. The internet is too slow. It sucks.
R
Rickfrom Canton, MI
WOW! Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
WOW started off fine for years. In recent years there service has gone down hill. There are more interuptions and slower speeds.
M
Mercedesfrom Knoxville, TN
WOW! Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
I think that wow is a great internet service company, they get the job done and are always there when you need them. I think that they could improve by offering more services to the public
A
Angelfrom Leslie, MI
WOW! Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
I THINK IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE FOR BASIC PHONE AND INTERNET
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Endnotes and sources
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 21 June 2022.2. "WOW! Internet - Terms of Service," Wide Open West. Accessed 12 October 20223. "Price of Residential Internet Drives Customer Choice, J.D. Power Finds," J. D. Power. Accessed 7 December 2022.4. “Readers’ Choice 2022: Your Favorite ISPs for Any Type of Broadband,” PCMag. Accessed 7 December 2022.
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